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Summer 2005: (7/05)

Needed: China volunteers

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Summer 2004:

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Opposites attract (5/26)

Mission Impossible (5/24)

Rules for a new mother (10/24)

Brocade Museum (10/24)

Barbara Diggs at NIM (4/4)

Fujian Earthen Houses (2/14)

Zhangzhou Puppets (2/14)

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Virginia Baptists arrive for 2002 SEP, Shanghai - Nanjing

Part 2: in Jining, the program begins

Inner Mongolia's grasslands

Baotou and Wudang Temple

Abby and Sarah in Xi'an

Discovering the Nestorian Pagoda

Eating Zongzi June, 2002

Mary Washington comes to China, Part 1
Part 2 May/June 2002

Xi'an May 2002
   
Update
  
Church
  
Terracotta soldiers
   The Nestorian tablet

 

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SEP '05 in Qingyang

Here they are, all six Virginia Baptist participants in Amity's 2005 Summer English Program. What? You count seven? You're right, but only for a few hours from the afternoon of July 22 until the morning of July 23 were all seven together in one place. Bobby, back row, left, was part of the team from the beginning through July 22, but he had another assignment (see "Bobby and Ryan in Xi'an") beginning on July 23, so Lynn, back row, second from right, came to take his place for the last ten days. Back row, from left: Bobby, Kim, Lynn, and Tiffany; front row, from left: Claire, Sharon, and Penny, the team leader. And a choice group they are.

During orientation in Nanjing, there is always a closing worship. Virginia Baptists are usually very prominent in the choir and this year was no exception. Kim had been invited to be the director and four other team members participated.

Banquet gift.JPG (436653 bytes)           Interviews.JPG (345765 bytes)

 Classes begin.JPG (425192 bytes)          Claire1.JPG (443128 bytes)

Leaving Nanjing on July 7, the team (and I) flew to Xi'an, the nearest city with an airport, were met by Mr. Gao, an administrator for the program, and a vehicle with drivers. It took about six hours to drive from Xi'an airport (in Sha'anxi Province) to Qingyang in Gansu Province, where the program would be held in Longdong University. The participants are middle school English teachers, mostly from a rural area northwest of the city. After a day to settle in, the program began with an opening ceremony and then interviews to determine each person's oral English level, an opening banquet (see the lovely gifts of Qingyang embroidery work? ) and then more interviews. Classes began that afternoon.

Longdong left gate.JPG (376066 bytes)           Main bldg..JPG (380078 bytes)

Quiet study.JPG (394236 bytes)           Classrooms.JPG (363890 bytes)

Longdong University is the only institution of higher learning in eastern Gansu Province (in northwest China). It has a fairly large campus downtown and a larger one further out on the edge of town. The main focus of the school is on training teachers, but there are other disciplines. The Qingyang area specializes in embroidery objects as decorations and embroidered pictures that look like pantings. Manufacturers export their products throughout China and the world.

Decorations.JPG (409172 bytes)           Embroidery scene.JPG (447905 bytes)

The schedule for the SEP in Qingyang called for classes each morning, 8:30-11:30, with the three upper level classes rotating among three teachers and the three lower oral level classes rotating among the other three teachers. In the afternoons, 2:30-4:30, the activities are more informal and may or may not be divided into smaller groups. Afternoon activities include: a mock wedding, a birthday party, Christmas celebration, English games, and English corner, which is a more freeform discussion time.

Bobby1.JPG (409876 bytes)           Lynn1.JPG (451523 bytes)
Discussion time.JPG (324964 bytes)           English games.JPG (448461 bytes)
Sharon2.JPG (447675 bytes)           Hello and goodbye.JPG (445232 bytes)

The church in Qingyang was neither big nor elaborate, but the spirit of the worshippers was warm. On the first Sunday the group attended, the members of the church took up an offering to help a neighboring area that had no church building even though their own building, with backless benches for pews, and concrete floors, was very Spartan and could have benefited from some additional amenities. The Chinese characters on either side of the cross mean: "Emmanuel," which Scripture says means, "God with us."

The program ended on July 30; the group flew to Beijing for debriefing and sightseeing (and American food!) and then departed for further travel in China or to return to the U.S. to resume their busy lives, forever changed and carrying new Chinese friends in their hearts.

Sidebar:

On the highway between Xi'an and Qingyang was a large grotto, or temple, with a large stone front apparently attached to the mountain. . I didnít know what to expect at this place, or probably, I should say I expected the usual Buddhist temple, with rooms holding a variety of Buddha images, and they did have those, but when I climbed up to the middle level, which was already fairly high above the surrounding landscape, and walked by an archway, I looked in and found this Buddha head as big as the archway looking back at me. I walked into the archway and discovered that in a huge cave were three very large three-dimensional Buddha figures. The two on the sides were female, but the one in the center was a traditional Buddha.

  Ordinary front.JPG (386956 bytes)  From above.JPG (378842 bytes)